While a core heuristic in the heuristics and biases tradition of Tversky and Kahneman is availability a similar heuristic proposed in Gigerenzer’s fast and frugal tradition is recognition. In the fast and frugal view, the application of heuristics is an “ecologically rational” strategy that makes best use of the limited information available to individuals. (Goldstein & Gigerenzer, 2002). Recognition is an easily accessible cue that simplifies decision making and indicates that sometimes less knowledge can lead to more accurate inferences. In an experiment, participants had to judge which one of two cities has the greater population size. Results showed that the vast majority of choices were based on recognition of the city name. What’s more, the study indicated a less-is-more effect, which happens when people’s guesses are more accurate in a domain of which they have little knowledge than one in which they know a lot. American participants did better on German cities, while German participants had higher scores on American cities (Goldstein and Gigerenzer, 2002). (See also satisficing.)


Goldstein, D. G., & Gigerenzer, G. (2002). Models of ecological rationality: The recognition heuristic. Psychological Review, 109(1), 75-90.


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